NASCAR is back at The Rock! I can say with true honesty I've missed seeing this track (and North Wilkesboro) on the NASCAR schedule these past years. Even though it isn't a Cup race, I'm happy to see NASCAR back at the newly revitalized Andy Hillenburg owned track.
Anyone who is happy to see NASCAR back at this storied track owes a debt of gratitude to Andy Hillenburg for taking the Speedway Motorsports discarded auctioned-off track and bringing honor and pride back to the almost forgotten facility.
It is ironic that NASCAR's return to The Rock coincides with the Cup date at Texas Motorspeedway, since the reason why NASCAR left its nearly 40 year history with the track was to give Texas Motorspeedway its second race date.
I've always thought of The Rock as being a combination of Darlington and Bristol with its differing corners like Darlington and its sharp high banks like Bristol giving the track a superspeedway-short-track feel to it - not quite a spuerspeedway yet not quite a short track either!
Here is some history about the track that you may not have known:
- Curtis Turner won the track's inaugural 500-mile race in October 1965 that took nearly five hours to complete. Turner and runner up Cale Yarborough were the only lead-lap finishers.
- Fifteen NASCAR Sprint Cup champions - all but two during the track's existence - won races at Rockingham led by Richard Petty, who visited Victory Lane 11 times.
- Ten Rockingham winners are members of the NASCAR Hall of Fame: drivers Petty, Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison and David Pearson; car owners Junior Johnson, Bud Moore and Glen Wood and crewchief Dale Inman.
- Benny Parsons, whose car was owned by Rockingham promoter L.G. DeWitt, never was able to win at the track. Parsons, however, clinched the 1972 championship there on an afternoon where his Chevrolet literally was rebuilt after an early-race accident.
- Steve Park drove a Dale Earnhardt Inc. Chevrolet to victory at Rockingham in February 2001, the race following Dale Earnhardt's death in the Daytona 500. It also marked the debut of Kevin Harvick with Richard Childress Racing's No. 3 team - which carried the No. 29 it bears today.
- Johnny Benson, the 2008 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion, won his only NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Rockingham in 2002.
- For many years, the track's fall race played host to the Unocal Pit Crew Challenge, an event that put names to faces of the sport's over-the-wall crew members creating iconic names such as RCR's "Flying Aces." Its spirit continues with the NASCAR Sprint Pit Crew Challenge to be held May 17 at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C.
- Jamie McMurray solidly etched his name in Rockingham lore winning the track's final four NASCAR Nationwide Series races in 2002-04. He did it with three owners - Clarence Brewer, James Finch and Todd Braun - and four different crew chiefs. In 2002 McMurray led just the final two laps when the two leaders crashed in front of him. The next year he led 192 of 197 laps.
- The final Cup race in 2004 ranked as one of the track's most exciting as Matt Kenseth held off Kasey Kahne's furious last-lap, final-turn challenge to win by .010 seconds.
Historical facts compliments of Owen A. Kearns (NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications)
Starting line-up after the jump, see you in the comments section!
The race will be televised on SPEED at 1 PM EST.
|1||30||Nelson Piquet Jr.||Qualcomm / AutoTrac Chevrolet||24.933|
|2||5||Paulie Harraka||Send Soldier to Rock / Wauters Mtrspts Ford||24.934|
|3||17||Timothy Peters||Strutmasters.com Toyota||25.011|
|4||18||Jason Leffler||Dollar General Toyota||25.047|
|5||4||Kasey Kahne||Rockwell Tools Chevrolet||25.106|
|6||29||Parker Kligerman||Draw-Tite / MOPAR Dodge||25.149|
|7||11||Todd Bodine||Toyota Care Toyota||25.169|
|8||88||Matt Crafton||Menards / Ideal Door Toyota||25.179|
|9||60||Grant Enfinger||Turn One Racing Chevrolet||25.195|
|10||13||Johnny Sauter||Hot Honeys / Curb Records Toyota||25.229|
|11||98||Dakoda Armstrong||EverFi.com Toyota||25.238|
|12||3||Ty Dillon||Bass Pro Shops / Tracker Boats Chevrolet||25.257|
|13||33||Cale Gale||Rheem Chevrolet||25.290|
|14||8||Ross Chastain||Florida Watermelon Association Toyota||25.299|
|15||24||Max Gresham||Made in USA Brand Chevrolet||25.306|
|16||31||James Buescher||Koike.com Chevrolet||25.324|
|17||22||Joey Coulter||Strutmasters.com / RCR Chevrolet||25.346|
|18||92||David Reutimann||FleetHQ.com / BTS Tire / QMI Chevrolet||25.354|
|19||6||Justin Lofton||CollegeComplete.com Chevrolet||25.394|
|20||9||John Wes Townley||RAB Racing Toyota||25.409|
|21||81||David Starr||Zachry Toyota||25.521|
|22||9||Ron Hornaday Jr.||Joe Denette Motorsports Chevrolet||25.594|
|23||32||Miguel Paludo||Duroline Brakes Chevrolet||25.625|
|24||75||Caleb Holman||Food Country USA / Wise Snacks Chevrolet||25.631|
|25||7||John King||Consol Energy Toyota||25.644|
|26||2||Tyler Young||Young’s Building Systems Chevrolet||25.648|
|27||27||Jeb Burton||State Water Heaters Chevrolet||25.677|
|28||23||Jason White||GunBroker.com Ford||25.720|
|29||2||Timothy George Jr.||Applebee’s Chevrolet||25.778|
|30||14||Brennan Newberry||Ironclad Performance Wear Chevrolet||25.830|
|31||99||Bryan Silas||Rockingham Speedway Ford||25.965|
|32||39||Ryan Sieg||RSS Racing Chevrolet||26.048|
|33||93||Chris Cockrum||RSS Racing / Advanced Commo Chevrolet||Owner Points|
|34||7||Johnny Chapman||ASI Limited Toyota||Owner Points|
|35||57||Norm Benning||Norm Benning Racing Chevrolet||Owner Points|
|36||70||Jeff Agnew||Team 7 Motorsports Chevrolet||25.835|